My dear bookish friends,
My second book of 2024 was another one by Victoria Williamson – probably my most read author of last year! – and oh wow, was it great again! This book really hit me right in the feels! Here is a tiny spoiler of what I loved about it:
+ It is so complex – so many layers that make up this great story!
+ The characters are amazing!
+ The emotions are leaping off the page right into your own chest!
+ The disability rep is incredible and so well done!
+ Buying the book gives you not only an amazing story, but you also do a good deed (stick around to the end of this post to find out what exactly)!
If this sounds like something you might like, please keep on reading!
As usual, a huge thank you to TheWriteReads, the author, and the publisher for my ebook and spot on this tour (none of which influenced my review or rating in any way).
About the Book
On a remote Scottish island, fourteen-year-old Max’s life changes forever when he loses his hearing in a boating accident. Struggling to make sense of his new life and finding it hard to adapt in school, he begins to notice other — even stranger — changes taking place when a new wind farm appears off the island’s coast.
With the help of three school friends with additional support needs, Max discovers that a sinister scientist, Doctor Ashwood, is using wind turbines to experiment on the islanders. They must find a way to shut down the government’s secret test before it spins out of control…
14-year-old Max has been deaf ever since his accident at the harbour. Williamson has a special way with words and knows how to get right under your skin. Max’s young life was changed forever when he lost his hearing. For a big part of the book, Max feels anger. A lot of anger – rage, even – frustration, sadness, hopelessness. The way we get to experience all these emotions with him made me feel them too, which wasn’t easy at first, but I really felt for him.
This is not an easy book to read; it is heavy, it gives you food for thought, it makes you think. While I could understand where Max’s endless anger and frustration was coming from, I sometimes also felt a little frustrated BECAUSE of him. Yes, undoubtedly what happened to him was horrific and surely unspeakably hard to cope with, but he had so many people who wanted to help, who wanted to be there for him, but he didn’t seem to see it.
As I said, a completely understandable reaction, especially for such a young boy, and yet, sometimes I wanted to shake him and tell him to open his eyes and really LOOK around him. Sometimes I also struggled with the way Max referred to the ‘mainstream’ kids, the ‘normal’ ones, the group of kids he doesn’t belong to anymore. Again, understandable, but hard to handle at times, when all they seemed to do was exist, the same way he did before the accident.
The story doesn’t end with Max’s hardships though. There was so much else going on! First of all I have to mention the side characters, because they were SO amazing I don’t even know where to start. Max’s mum is wonderful, she manages to take care of his baby sister and the household, while also learning sign language with him and trying to communicate with him in a way that is supposed to make him not feel left out. Then there are the other kids in his additional support – or ‘zoomers’, how he calls them -class. Erin and David, but especially Beanie are such wonderful characters and I was so, SO glad that in the end Max could see it too.
The story would already be worth telling with just this much of a plot, but there is so much more. Max lives on a remote Scottish island (I loved the map at the front of the book!), a place where the internet is practically non-existent. That is, until the islanders are promised faster internet AND gifted smartphones, if they allow wind turbines to be built in the bay. A big change could be in the air (literally) – a change that many welcome but some fear. And it seems that second group could be right, as Max is soon to find out…
This part of the plot added an extra layer of suspense to the story, and I loved how Max and his new friends try to find out together what exactly is up with that weird wind turbine company and the even stranger Doctor Ashwood, who suddenly appeared on the island. Why is everyone suddenly so tired? What are the black spots on the rocks at the bay? And why do animals – and people – suddenly freak out and start to fight each other? Questions upon questions, and Max is lucky to have just the right people to find answers with!
There is so much going on here, and even though my review is already quite long I could still keep going and going, but I want to try and wrap things up now so you can read this book and find out what else happened yourselves! There was just so much I enjoyed about War of the Wind: The diverse characters, the suspense, the depth, the complexity, the emotions.
I loved that Max stood his ground and did what he felt was right, even if at first that meant fighting with his loved ones. Even though he was encouraged to wear his hearing aid, he refused to, which often led to frustration on both sides. The others (especially his father) thought with the hearing aid all the problems were solved and everything was back to ‘normal’, while Max was unhappy because even with the aid he still couldn’t hear well, and on top of that the white noise was stressing him out a lot. As a general remark, I have to say I loved the way the author made us, the readers, read and understand what other people were saying to Max, and that it was a constant battle for him to either read or lip read or remind people that he doesn’t understand what they are saying. I loved that it was often mentioned that he couldn’t actually hear a word they were saying. I think in writing little things like that can easily be overlooked, but Williamson did this masterfully.
There were many heartbreaking moments in this book, but one specific death of an animal (check the trigger warnings if you are unsure!) made my heart really ache. And then there was also a big revelation by Max’s father at the end, something I was waiting for and saw coming, but I was still so sad and yet happy at the same time that he finally found the courage to tell Max.
What can I say? Another skillfully written novel by Victoria Williamson, and another one I highly recommend. Especially the disability representation in this book is amazing, but there is just one big plus after the other here!
5 stars from me, and I cannot wait for more books by Victoria.
And if all this wasn’t enough for you to get yourself a copy of War of the Wind yet, maybe this little bit of extra info might help: 20% of the author royalties for this novel will be donated to the British Deaf Association! So what are you waiting for?!
Thank you all so much for reading,